Tuesday, 24 June 2014 13:02

Western Sydney residents encouraged to check chimney

Media Release 23 June 2014

Western Sydney councils are joining forces to tackle wood smoke pollution and help clear the air in the region.

The Western Sydney wood smoke Project, run by the Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (WSROC), aims to raise awareness of the proper operation of wood heaters which will ultimately save residents money, reduce nuisance smoke and improve regional air quality.

WSROC President Clr Tony Hadchiti today asked residents with wood heaters to check their chimneys for excessive smoke.

Clr Hadchiti said smoky chimneys could be a real problem in Western Sydney during the winter months, when wood smoke haze is trapped over built up areas.

“Unfortunately wood smoke pollution can harm the environment and your health and can be upsetting for neighbours,” Clr Hadchiti said.

“We’re encouraging all residents with wood heaters to go outside and check their chimneys. Ideally, chimneys should not vent any smoke, just a heat haze. Older models may vent a thin wispy smoke.

“However, if your chimney has obvious smoke this means it’s not operating as efficiently as it could be, regardless of its age.

“Proper operation of your wood heater does not only reduce wood smoke, it can reduce your heating costs.”

Clr Hadchiti said some simple steps to reduce wood smoke are:

  • Don’t let your heater smoulder overnight – keep enough air in the fire to maintain a flame.
  • Burn only dry, aged hardwood in your wood heater. Unseasoned wood has lots of moisture, which causes a fire to smoke.
  • Store your wood under cover in a dry, ventilated area. Freshly cut wood needs to be stored for at least eight to twelve months.
  • Never burn rubbish, driftwood or painted or treated wood. These are sure to pollute the air and can produce poisonous gases.
  • When lighting a cold heater, use plenty of dry kindling to establish a good fire quickly.
  • Use several small logs rather than one large log and stack them loosely in your heater, so air can circulate around them. Don’t cram the firebox full.
  • Keep the flame lively and bright. Your fire should only smoke when you first light it and when you add extra fuel. Open the air controls fully for 5 minutes before and 15 to 20 minutes after reloading the heater.
  • Check your chimney regularly to see how well your fire is burning. If there is smoke coming from the chimney, increase the air supply to your fire.
  • Have the chimney cleaned every year to prevent creosote build-up.
  • If you are buying a wood heater, make sure it has a compliance plate showing it meets the Australian Standard (AS/NZS 4013:1999) and obtain the relevant Council approvals prior to installation.

For more information and tips on better wood burning, visit www.wsroc.com.au/woodsmoke or contact your local council.

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Media Inquiries: Judith Bruinsma, Deputy CEO

Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (WSROC) Ltd
Suite 2 Level 1 (PO Box 63) Blacktown 2148
© 2014 WSROC Ltd
T 02 9671 4333; F 02 9621 7741
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Last modified on Tuesday, 24 June 2014 13:10

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